There are aspects of God that make us… uncomfortable. We gladly sing of his love with a bullhorn, but whisper of his wrath with timid trepidation. We attempt to clean Him up, polish His image, and make Him a little more palatable.
But brothers and sisters, God cannot be tamed. He is who He is. We are called to worship Him in truth and to declare His glory to others.
If we try to shape God into another image, we will proclaim and worship a false god.
We simply cannot squeeze God into an unobtrusive, little box. We will utterly fail the mission if we pretend that He is safe.
It’s not that we shouldn’t tell of his goodness, glory, and grace. Far from it! May that be our anthem until our dying breath! But if we downplay God’s holiness and judgment against sin, nobody will understand why grace is beautiful in the first place.
The problem of sin is serious. Apart from the miraculous work of the gospel, we are enemies of God (Romans 5:10). We are dead in sin, determined to do evil (Ephesians 2:1-3). Evil that is sometimes obvious, like abuse or theft or murder. But usually, evil that hides in subtle degrees of selfishness, greed, anger, lust, and pride. Whatever our actions, our desires are the same—to dethrone God and live by our own rules.
If we trivialize the wickedness of sin and the holiness of God, we will never grasp the depths of His grace.
This is why, we must resist the temptation to focus on some of God’s attributes at the expense of others. He is to be loved as Father and revered as King, feared as Judge and treasured as Savior. He is a God of mercy and a God of justice. He is beautiful and dangerous. He draws near to the lowly and opposes the proud. He hates injustice and impurity, but He offers to cleanse us from both.
God’s white-hot wrath against sin is just as pure as the blood-stained love which covers it.
Our hope isn’t found in domesticating God. Our hope is found in turning to Christ for salvation, trusting that “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
What good news!
And what a travesty it is to compromise it, by preaching a different message. If we preach a God who promises prosperity, or waves a rainbow flag, or demands nothing but half-hearted morality and winks at our sin like an indulgent grandfather, we have depicted a false and sanitized god.
False gods cannot save anyone, and preaching a plagiarized gospel robs the world of authentic hope.
God is infinitely glorious and unsearchable. Those who have been forgiven in Christ will spend an eternity discovering more of His glory. And while we humbly admit that we can’t comprehend Him fully, we can know him truly through His written word. When we submit our hearts and minds to believe what He says, He enables us to discern truth from error.
Many claim that humility means never holding firm convictions. So, they water-down truth. But it’s not humility to disbelieve what God has made clear. It’s not humility to embrace human teaching that is contrary to God’s word. It’s not humility to live by a spineless faith that spurns that hard teachings of Scripture.
Humility is believing God more than man. Humility is trusting His revelation more than our flawed reason.
If we want to love the true and living God, we must tear down our idols and believe what He says about Himself. And if we want to be faithful to the mission, we must boldly proclaim the glory of the God who will not be tamed.